Monitoring is a critically important activity for assessing the status of a system, such as the health of an individual, the balance in one's checking account, profits and losses of a business, the economic activity of a nation, or the size of an animal population. Monitoring is especially vital for evaluating changes in the system associated with specific known impacts occurring to the system. It is also valuable for detecting unanticipated changes in the system and identifying plausible causes of such changes, all in time to take corrective action.
Before proceeding, we should define “monitoring.” One definition of “monitor” (Microsoft Corporation 2009) is “to check something at regular intervals in order to find out how it is progressing or developing.” The key point here is “at regular intervals,” suggesting a continuing process. Some definitions do not indicate the repetitive nature of monitoring and are basically synonymous with “observing.” Most monitoring, in the strict sense of the word, is intended to persist for long periods of time, perhaps indefinitely or permanently. Similarly, Thompson et al. (1998: 3) referred to the “repeated assessment of status” of something, but noted that the term “monitor” is sometimes used for analogous activities such as collecting baseline information or evaluating projects for either implementation or effectiveness. For their purposes, they restricted the term to involve repeated measurements collected at a specified frequency of time units. Let us adopt that definition, recognizing that repeated measurements imply collecting comparable information on each occasion.
Monitoring environmental resources, such as populations of animals and plants and their habitats, is essential for determining their general status (e.g. Likens 1983, Thompson et al. 1998). The objective of a monitoring program typically is to track a target variable over time to detect changes, either with periodic (e.g. annual) measures of an attribute such as population size or with estimates of overall trend during that time. In the case of monitoring focused on animals or plants (e.g. Ralph and Scott 1981, Menges and Gordon 1996, Elzinga et al. 1998), often a fixed set of sites within a species’ range are visited periodically and the number of individuals at each site counted. Our discussion is in terms of counts of animals or plants but applies more generally to other natural resources. The sites may have been chosen on a systematic basis, may have been randomly selected, or may encompass the entirety of the species’ known range. If all sites are monitored on all occasions, analysis of resulting data is relatively straightforward; sampling variability, however, may come into play if only a sample of the possible known locations are monitored on each occasion.
It can happen that not all sites are examined on every scheduled occasion. There are contexts in which missing data are not a critical problem, depending on why data are missing (Chapters 7, 15). In programs such as the North American Breeding Bird Survey, certain results are based on mean counts of sites (routes) within each stratum. Missing counts – routes not surveyed – will reduce the precision of an estimator but not bias it unless a relation exists between the abundance of a species on a route and the probability that the route is not surveyed (e.g. if some routes are less likely to be surveyed because they have too few “interesting” birds to appeal to observers). For the types of monitoring programs that are the focus of this chapter, however, missing data can be problematic.
Land was one of the central issues contributing to the recent civil wars in the Sudan, and it is an underestimated and overlooked factor determining the success or failure of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 (Pantuliano 2007: 3). Land has been central to the Sudan's colonial and postcolonial development policies, and land access and land rights legislation changed as development policy changed. The systematic erosion of customary rights to land and access to land were powerful factors which drew different peoples on both sides of the North-South divide into the wider conflict, so that by the time the North-South war ended in 2005 what the ‘marginalised’ peoples of the South, East and West had in common was dispossession from their land through government encroachment. Land was ethnicised during the Anglo-Egyptian Condominum, was progressively de-ethnicised immediately prior to and during the conflicts, and is now being selectively re-ethnicised along parts of the North-South border. There is a direct conflict between customary land regimes and the development policies of the central government which has yet to be resolved, or even directly addressed, by either the Government of National Unity or the Government of South Sudan created by the CPA.
Communal Resources & Dar Rights
The Condominium government of the Sudan both assumed and confirmed the existence of discrete tribal territories throughout the rural areas of the country. Legislation in the 1920s and 1930s defining the powers of nomad sheikhs in the North and chiefs in the South reinforced the legal and, ultimately, the territorial definition of tribal groups.
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